Instinctively, I always steerclear of the motorbike taxis when considering form of transportation for getting around in Bangkok. When I see how motorbikes zigzag through traffic and speed dangerously close to cars, even knocking their side view mirror, I have a hard time imagining myself sitting on one.
Sure, I’ve been on motorbikes. I just make sure that the area where I’m travelling is less congested than Bangkok. The last time I was on a motorbike was in Koh Phangan in the southern part of Thailand and I was riding with a novice driver. Before that, I’ve been on motorbikes many times when I was a kid sitting behind my dad as we drove around the small southern town of Songhkla. In both of these places, motorbikes are higher in proportion to cars than in larger cities and there is considerable fewer vehicles on the road.
Today, there was a motorbike related death near my workplace. It only served to confirm my suspicions that motorbikes are one of the most dangerous ways to travel on the road. Since the motorbikes are so small, it is easy for them to overlooked by larger vehicles when they change lanes or make turns. Also, the motorbikes can lose their balance easily when they hit a bump or run through lose gravel. Lastly, the motorbike drivers themselves tend to be rather daring and exhibit a lack of concern for their own safety when they zoom around. My dad likes to say that they “have no fear of death” and their actions seem to reflect that idea.
I doubt I’ll ever voluntarily get on the back of a motorbike taxi in Bangkok, it seems too risky a venture. I’d rather sit in a four-wheeled vehicle or some other mass transit system, than hang on to some strange man praying that I make it to my destination alive and with all of my limbs still attached to my body. That’s not to say that normal taxis are any less dangerous!